How to Avoid Freezing Drains in The Winter

Freezing Drains

For most people, the winter season brings to mind fun holidays, cozy evenings with family, and perhaps even a chance for snow. But the falling temperatures of winter can also present frustrating and inconvenient problems with your home’s plumbing systems. In severe cases, you may even need to seek emergency drain cleaning or plumbing services to resolve an issue.

When your home’s drain pipes freeze during the winter, it can cause significant problems for you and your family. Frozen drains can interfere with many of your daily activities. You may have to drive to a friend’s house to take a shower or wash your clothes. If temperatures are sufficiently low, frozen pipes can even be dangerous. 

If elements of your home’s plumbing systems have frozen, you will need to contact qualified professionals for plumbing and drain cleaning services. However, you don’t have to wait until your drains are frozen in order to take action. In the following post, we will examine several ways to avoid freezing drains during the cold winter months. 

Keep Your Heat On

While this might seem obvious, it is worth noting that decreasing the internal temperature of your home can cause pipes and drains to freeze. Many families plan trips to visit others during the holidays. If you are planning to travel during the winter months, you should keep the heat in your home active while you are away. 

It would be a waste of energy (and money) to keep the thermostat set quite as high as you usually might while being at home. However, it is a good idea to set the thermostat to at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This should provide enough heat to keep your interior pipes and drains from freezing while you are traveling. If you fail to control the temperature and it drops below a safe level, you may need a professional plumbing drain service to make repairs if your pipes become affected.

Keep Your Faucets Dripping

If you know that certain drains are vulnerable to freezing, keep the faucet above that drain open just enough to allow a trickle of water. When a faucet is dripping slightly, the pressure of the plumbing system decreases. Frozen pipes sometimes burst because of the pressure that is created between the faucet and the frozen blockage. 

Freezing water is not the only factor that can cause clogged drains. However, during the cold winter months, frozen water is one of the primary reasons for blocked drain pipes. Keeping your faucets dripping will prevent too much pressure from building up in the drains and pipes. 

If a faucet has both hot and cold taps, keep both taps open enough to drip. This will prevent both your cold and hot water pipes from freezing and bursting. If your shower or other bathroom pipes freeze, you may need to contact a plumbing company that can handle sewer and drain cleaning.

Find and Seal Holes and Gaps

Sometimes pipes freeze because cold air can reach the pipes from outside the house. Sealing up holes and gaps where the pipes go through walls or floors can prevent this. You can caulk or apply spray foam insulation around the holes in the floor or wall that surrounds the piping. 

This will not only help you to avoid frozen drains and pipes, but it will also make your home more energy efficient. Keeping heat contained within your home will help your pipes to remain sufficiently warm. This can prevent the need to contact a plumbing drain service specialist.

Use Heating Tape on Pipes

Heating tape can be purchased from most home improvement stores. Also known as a “heat cable,” this tape provides an additional heat source to keep your pipes and drains above freezing temperatures. Wrap small areas of piping that are closest to the exterior of the house to decrease the likelihood that the water inside of those pipes will freeze.

While insulation is helpful for most pipes, heating tape is best for short sections of high-risk piping. Apply heat cables to any external pipes or drains that are close to outer walls. Heating tape is available in two forms:

  • Self-Regulating:  This type of cable supplies more current as the temperature gets colder and decreases power as temperatures become warmer.
  • Constant Wattage:  This type of heating cable provides a consistent amount of heat, regardless of the external temperature. You will need to plug and unplug this kind of heating tape as needed.

Using heating tape is an effective way to prevent both frozen drains and the need for professional sewer and drain cleaning services.

Apply Insulation to Pipes

Homes in warmer climates often lack insulation on their pipes. Areas in your home that are less insulated are also more susceptible to lower internal temperatures during colder weather months. While you may not need general insulation in an unfinished basement, crawlspace, or attic, it is important to protect any pipes in those areas from freezing.

Rubber and fiberglass pipe insulation can be purchased online or from home improvement stores. After you measure the length and circumference of the pipes in the un-insulated areas of your home, you can purchase insulation that fits the specifications you need. Insulation wrapping should fit snugly around the at-risk pipes. You can secure the rubber or fiberglass sleeves in place with adhesive tape.

While insulating your pipes will help you to avoid frozen drains, prolonged exposure to very cold temperatures will require more than just insulation. You may also need a heat source, such as heating tape or an appropriately warm internal home temperature.

Charlotte Drain Cleaning and Plumbing Services

The previous tips can help you to avoid frozen drains during the winter months. However, sometimes drains clog for other reasons. While preventative measures are always important, most homeowners will occasionally need superior drain cleaning services. Don’t get stuck wondering, “How can I find an emergency drain service near me?” Contact the skilled professionals at Superior Plumbing and Drains, LLC.

If your pipes or drains are frozen or clogged, don’t wait to contact plumbing specialists. Superior Plumbing and Drains, LLC provides expert plumbing services and drain cleaning in Charlotte, NC. Our qualified and well-trained team can handle all of your plumbing needs. Call us today at (704) 289-6858 if you live in the Monroe/Charlotte area or (704) 813-2888 if you live in the Gaston area or contact us online.

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